American democracy requires constant vigilance against overt and dilutive measures to weaken the Latino vote. Suppression of the Latino vote has evolved from delays and intimidation at the polls to illegal purges and excessive documentary requirements to prove citizenship among our naturalized citizens. Such laws purport to address “voter fraud” – a phenomenon that has no basis in fact. Instead these measures are aimed at disenfranchising many Latino citizens, and have an especially disproportionate negative impact on women.
The power of minority voters was also directly compromised by the gutting of a powerful provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). In 2013, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder struck down Section 4 of the VRA, a key provision that determines those states and subdivisions required to seek federal preclearance for election changes, in order to ensure voters are not disenfranchised based on race. Legislation must therefore be passed to restore key voting protections and provide meaningful protections to the growing Latino electorate.